Doctor’s Orders: Lose the Carbs When You Have Diabetes

Avoid frying foods and instead, try grilling, broiling or baking

Exercise more, especially when you have diabetes.
Exercise more, especially when you have diabetes.

Diabetes is also known as diabetes mellitus. The condition is characterized by a group of diseases that affect how the body uses blood sugar, or glucose. Glucose is essential to us as humans because it is a major source of energy for the tissue and muscle cells in our bodies. It also serves at the main source of energy for the brain. Having either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes simply means that a person has too much glucose in their blood. When a person has too much glucose in their blood, it can result in serious health problems.

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Managing your weight when you are suffering from diabetes is likely one of the most important lifestyle changes you can dedicate yourself to. Remember, diabetes can be prevented with some lifestyle changes, and obesity and inactive lifestyle are two major (and preventable) risk factors. Some of the most effective ways to manage your weight are also the simplest. Diet and exercise cannot be stressed enough. A regular exercise program is essential for maintaining weight loss. Similarly, eating well will also help you maintain a healthy weight over a longer period of time. Eating well includes the types of foods you eat as well as proper portion control. Below are some basic tips for managing your weight:

  1. Exercise:
    Weight loss and physical activity can improve the body’s ability to use insulin and process glucose.  One of the easiest forms of exercise is walking – start by taking a walk around the block at lunch time, choose to take the stairs where possible and eventually build up to at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week. People at risk for developing type 2 diabetes can delay or avoid the disease if they lose just 5 to 7 percent of their body weight.
  1. Eat Healthy:
    Consume foods that are low in fat, sugars, and sodium.  Choose low or zero-calorie beverages over sweetened drinks.  Replace white carbohydrates, like white bread and white rice, with whole grains, and brown rice.  If you do choose unhealthy options, eat them in moderation. Fat intake should be no more than 30% of total calories. Most fats should be in the form of monounsaturated fats, like olive oil. Saturated fats should be avoided. Furthermore, the amount of food you eat is as important as the types of foods you’re eating.
  1. Cook Smart
    Low-fat and low-calorie ingredients can make a big difference when it comes to your health, just as the method of cooking does.  It is typically best to avoid frying foods and instead, try grilling, broiling or baking. Some simple substitutions to make in your food include zero-calorie cooking spray for butter, milk for cream, low-fat or nonfat options for full-fat dairy products, unsweetened applesauce for oil or butter and sugar substitute for some of the sugar.

Dr. David Samadi is the chairman of urology and chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.

Doctor’s Orders: Lose the Carbs When You Have Diabetes